CNN Photo by Jonathon Torgovnik
During the quake
Ten men from Pilgrim UMC in Clinton County, Michigan, were in Haiti when the earthquake struck that island nation.
They had just finished pouring a concrete floor for a church and they were headed to Port-Au-Prince for the night when the earthquake occurred.
“All the sudden the pick-up truck started doing strange things, jumping up and down, rocking back and forth,” said Howard Williams. “The chaos of people running up and down the street you just can’t describe. They were just panicking.”
The men returned safely home on Jan. 17, but they plan to return as soon as possible.
Before the quake
Gil Hanke, newly elected general secretary of the General Commission on United Methodist Men, had made 20 mission trips to Haiti to conduct hearing tests and provide hearing aids for students in several schools. He has already told the Texas Annual Conference that he would like to be on the first team that will help rebuild destroyed buildings.
Men of Garner, N.C. were also in Haiti prior to the disaster. “Men of Faith” were in process of building an orphanage and they sponsored a child they hoped would later be able to stay in the new building. None of the men from Garner was in Haiti at the time of the quake.
After the quake
UM men immediately knelt in prayer for the Haitians and for the families of the two UMCOR officials who were killed in the Montana Hotel. The men also gave money to the UM Committee on Relief (Advance No. 418325) and packed UMCOR health kits that were rushed to the Sager Brown Distribution Center.
Soldiers of the 597th Transportation Terminal Group were immediately deployed to Haiti and each member of that group carried a copy of Strength for Service to God and Country, an historic book of daily devotions presented by the General Commission on UM Men through Chaplain John W. Jacobs.
Many groups of UM Men are now planning mission trips to help the Haitians rebuild their churches, schools and homes.